Low Mileage Flagship: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 300SE – SOLD!

Jan 2021 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

February 10, 2021 Update – we confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call Rudy directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

The storied lineup of Mercedes-Benz in the 1980s was perhaps most notable for reaching every level of product offering: entry-level, mid-size, or top-of-the-line, anywhere you looked, Mercedes buyers were practically guaranteed class-leading durability. This 1989 Mercedes 300SE was originally listed in January 2021 on Craigslist in Port Ewen, New Jersey has 110,612 original miles and is listed with an asking price of just $4,000.   Comparing this price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms this private seller has priced this barely broken in W126 fairly, with a #3 “Good” condition appraisal of $9,600 and the #4 “Fair” estimate of $5,100.

When we think of big-bodied Mercedes, it’s easy to envision a stately sedan with V8 power. But the luxury automaker did indeed make its six-cylinder engine an option in the S-Class from the W126 years, which certainly would have been given a workout anytime the heavy sedan made its way up an on-ramp. Still, Mercedes’ six-cylinder engines are celebrated for being incredibly durable workhorses, and while the lack of power relative to its heft may seem like a downer, you rarely notice the lower output once at highway speeds – and the interstate is where a car like this shines, without needing to downshift a few cogs every hundred feet due to in-town traffic. The same rule applies for the miserly eight valve 190E, which can feel anemic around town but moves effortlessly once the average speeds reach 70 miles per hour.

This 300SE is unusual not only for its low mileage and reliable M103 powerplant but also for its color: it appears to be Garnet Red Poly, another paint shade not typically associated with the low-key flagship sedan. The seller is upfront about the W126 presenting well overall, but that the paint is suffering from clearcoat failure in places. Recent maintenance shows a good deal of money and time spent keeping this 300Se in fighting form, with a new alternator, brakes, cooling system, fuel pump, battery, and more rounding out the list of repairs and new parts. The seller advises that it needs a blower motor resistor and that the rear shocks are getting tired. For the amount of luxury and low cost of ownership this 300SE will deliver, it looks like a bargain for a daily driver-friendly classic. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Selling my 1989 Mercedes 300SE, automatic, burgundy with light tan leather interior. This is just a fantastic car, with all of the well-known comfort and reliability of 1980s-era Mercedes engineering.

This particular car has 110k miles on it, only two owners, and looks handsome. It runs beautifully, shifts smoothly, and brakes confidently. It has some mild cosmetic issues, such as a peeling topcoat in a few spots, and one area of rash on the front wheel well. But the interior is in very good shape and it has no rust.

Open to offers

The Good:

– 110k miles
– no rust
– new brakes & front rotors
– new alternator & regulator
– recent cooling system service
– new ignition sensors
– new fuel pump & relay
– new battery
– recent tune up (plugs, wires, fluids)
– interior in very good shape
– all switches and electrical seats work

The Not As Good :

– some dings and mild peeling top coat
– needs blower resistor ($30 plus install)
– needs new antenna
– may need new rear shocks soon “

Do you have a Mercedes-Benz 300SE story you’d like to share?  Comment below and let us know!


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